Personal Pronouns: Forms and Functions

Introduction | Subject | Direct Object | Indirect Object | Reflexive | Placement Rules | Prepositional | Redundancy | Personal Pronoun Summary
  • Function of the subject:
    • The subject refers to the person(s), idea(s), things, etc. that perform an action, are in a particular state, etc.
    • Subject pronouns are stressed (often emphasized in speech).
    • Since verbs endings serve to mark the subject (see subject-verb agreement), subject pronouns are often omitted, and mostly used when emphasis is desired or clarification is needed.
    Singular Plural  
  1st person

yo   I

nosotros, nosotras2   we

  2nd person

tú   you1

vosotros3, vosotras2   you1

  3rd person

él   he

ellos2   they


ella   she

ellas2   they


usted (Ud.)   you1

ustedes (Uds.you1

    ello  it4    
  1. In Spanish, subject you works as follows:
    • is singular and informal and goes its own own unique verb forms.
    • Usted is singular and formal, and shares verb forms with él/ella.
    • Vosotros/as is plural and informal and has its own unique verb forms
    • Ustedes is plural. It is formal but in Latin America is the only plural you form commonly used. It shares verb forms with ellos/ellas.
  2. -os pronouns refer to a pair/group that is all male or mixed; -as pronouns to pair/group that is all female.
  3. vosotros is used only in Spain.
  4. The use of ello as subject is limited and mostly literary. It is not used as equivalent of it in impersonal expressions like es posible...
  • Examples
    • Yo hablo español, pero hablas francés. ¿Qué lengua habla él?
    • Ella y nosotros vamos al centro hoy.
    • Las chicas y los chicos están en casa. Ellas ven la tele, y ellos juegan al dominó.